Let's learn more and find out how you can experience the great wines of Germany.
Germany is the northern most major wine-producing country in Europe. Given the cool climates the Germans have dedicated themselves to thier unique wines. They are usually white and rarely oaked. Because of the cool, rainy weather vintage becomes even more important. Information about the 2002 year will be included near the end of this article.
In addition to the terms we talked about in the last article, there are few more essentials you should know about German wines.
Eiswein may be used in conjunction with the other Prädikats if the grapes are crushed after a naturally occurring freeze. By pressing the grapes while froze, the sugars, acids, and other qualities of the grapes become concentrated. Utz Graafmann, Wein-Plus.com host, explains that "There is no 'default' grape variety for QmP wines. If there is no grape on the label, it is usualy a cuvee."
QmP Kabinett and Spätlese wines can be as complex and delicious as Chardonnays in the $15-$20 range. A growing trend in German wine is varietal-labeled Riesling QbA wines. You can expect to spend $8-$10, making these wines a good value.
German sparkling wine is called Sekt. Sekt is produced from riesling and other German varieties. This makes it markedly different from French and California sparkling wines, which are usually made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Sekt tends to be clean with no harshness. Sekt is mostly consumed in Germany. The annual per capita consumption of about five liters is the highest in the world for sparkling wines.
Last year (2002)there was a great deal of rain in Germany. The vineyards had to quick the grapes quickly. The majority of the coming wines from this year will be in the Kabinett and Spätlese categories. There will be some Auslese and some eiswein. The rain kept washing away the botrytis mold needed to create the beerenauslese and trockenbeerenauslese, high quality, sweet wines.
If you really want to experience German wines you will need to go to the source. Travel and tours are available through the German Wine Academy. You can experience the wineries up close and personal.
The German Wine Academy is not a "bricks and mortar" school, but rather a guided wine region tour, traveling throughout several of Germany's famous wine growing regions, visiting world-renowned wineries and estates, and tasting a vast array of wines with the wine makers themselves. The new programs, which include more leisurely activities, including optional spa visits, are less "academic" and much better suited to the diverse interests of today's traveler, while providing a stress- and hassle-free travel package.
You can even take a cruise down the Rhine River. The courses can be either 6 days, or a 4 day weekend. Autumn is a fantastic time to plan this visit. You will encounter many wine festivals. Historically significant because wineries needed to empty their casks to make room for the new vintage. Today, wine festivals are great opportunities to meet wine-growers and sample their wines with local foods.